A backlog of BC cities looking to add a hotel tax — or increase it — will delay the plan for an increase in Vernon.
About two dozen Vernon area hotels and motels currently collect a 2 percent tax from guests, with the funds used for tourism marketing.
Tourism Manager Kevin Poole says he will seek an increase to 3 percent from city council March 13th.
“We estimated way back when we did the initial budgets that we would be collecting as of July 1st, but it was kind of a stab in the dark. Since that time, we’re a little slow getting our application in,” Poole tells Kiss FM.
Poole says the higher tax — if it’s approved by council and Destination BC — likely won’t kick in until next January due to the delay.
Photo: Kevin Poole, City of Vernon Economic Development/Tourism Manager
He estimates it could generate an extra $300,000 a year for marketing.
“We’ve told council that we would look at our structure and look at staffing needs. Maybe those aren’t contractors. Maybe we’re able to bring in additional staff to support the function,” adds Poole who is also the city’s economic development manager.
Meantime, 2016 was a busy year for tourism in Vernon — and more of the same is expected this year.
Poole says they will continue to focus most of their marketing efforts on the Lower Mainland, other areas of BC, Calgary and Edmonton.
“The only change I would say is we’re a little more aggressive into the US market, into the Washington, Seattle market.”
Poole says with low Canadian dollar, it’s felt more Washington state residents can be drawn north for golfing, skiing , and other vacations.